Benny Alexander, the third child of Estelle and Johann Alexander, a labourer, was born on 4 March 1955 in Kimberley, where he also grew up.
Following his matriculation from the William Pescod High School in 1975, he worked for the Department of Manpower until 1981. In 1982, Benny moved to Johannesburg where he worked for a pharmaceutical company in Wynberg. During this time he helped form the Black Health and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, serving as a senior shop steward and vice-chairperson of the local shop stewards’ committee. He also chaired the union’s national advisory committee.
In 1986, Benny left his job to take up full time employment with the South African Black Municipal and Allied Workers Union, an affiliate of the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu).
Following the release of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) President, Zeph Mothopong, who was released after a 15-year sentence on Robben Island, Benny became his personal aide. Between April and August 1989 he travelled with Mothopeng to the United States, the United Kingdom (where Mothopong underwent medical treatment), Kenya and to Zimbabwe for a meeting of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
On his return to South Africa in 1989, Benny played a leading role in the formation of the Pan-Africanist Movement (PAM). The organisation was established to give expression on a national level to Pan-Africanist support and structures in the country. Benny was elected General Secretary of PAM in December 1989.
Benny Alexander (aka !Khoisan X) stepped down in 1994 as secretary general, and then left politics entirely in 1997.
According to an online Financial Mail article, dated 2 February 2007, his views on land distribution and power sharing, which were contrary to those of the African National Congress (ANC), earned him kudos in poorer black communities, while many whites mocked him. In 1996, on the day the national constitution was signed, Khoisan X threw in the towel. He quit politics and retreated from the limelight. The article goes onto say that since then he has dabbled in black economic empowerment (BEE) initiatives, only to ditch them later. He also bought a home in Johannesburg's northern suburb of Illovo and a posh BMW - at the same time returning to his ancestral roots as a source of business.
He has instead chosen to capitalise on his San and Griqua ancestry by taking up a job as adviser to Adam Kok V, the head of the Griqua traditional royal house. He has set up Khoisan X Investment Holdings, which is in the throes of concluding a deal with In Africa, a hunting and tourism firm in the Waterberg. Khoisan X Holdings is looking at setting up abattoirs that sell game, and at promoting tourism and nature conservation. The section 21 company aims to benefit the indigenous San and Griqua communities through a trust.
A strategic investment agreement was signed on 26 August 2005 between Khoisan X investment Holdings and InAfrica Safaris of the Waterberg in the Eastern side of Limpopo. Khoisan X, representing Khoisan X Investment Holdings, and Boer Coetzee, representing InAfrica Safaris, signed the twofold BEE transaction in the gaming tourism market. The agreement marks the historic return of the Khoi-Khoi and San to the Waterberg area and the broader Limpopo.
In 2008 Alexander was part of a group that broke away and attempted to establish a PAC splinter grouping. The Bloemfontein High Court ordered that this group refrain from gathering or organising under the PAC’s name or colours.
He died on 13 October 2010 aged 55.
• Singh, S. (2007). Where are they now? X marks the spot. The Financial Mail [Online] 02 February. Available at: secure.financialmail.co.za/ [Accessed 28 January 2010]
• Strategic Investment marks the return of the Khoi-Khoi and San to the Waterberg. BEENEWS [Online]. Available at: beenews.co.za/ [Accessed 28 January 2010]
• The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania. A viable alternative or a flat spare-tyre? [Online]. Available at: anc.org.za/ [Accessed 28 January 2010]